Poker Parties are the Growing Thing
Poker parties are the growing ‘thing’ these days, in the 20 to 30 age bracket. Where their fathers had weekend games, with the guys gathered round in t-shirts, in a room full of cigar smoke, the younger set likes to set up a more organized affair. So imagine it: a folding poker table in the living room, martinis in the kitchen, and custom printed card in the automatic shuffler. The host, as banker, passes out poker chips from a set of casino-style, regulation clay chips, the guy to his right gets the dealer puck, and the game begins…. There’s an ambience to all of that which is hard to ignore and harder to forget. A well done poker party reschedules itself. Why is Poker so Much Fun? It’s no surprise, really, that the rising popularity of poker parties has gone hand in hand with the rising popularity of online gaming generally, and online poker rooms particularly. The Internet is an incredible advance in communications, connecting people with each other, as well as with products. Poker, in many ways, falls into both categories. It’s a social game. That’s really at the heart of its popularity, both in “real life” and on the Web. When you play poker, especially with a group of friends, you’re sitting around a table with your cards and your chips and maybe a drink, and there’s camaraderie there; talking is natural. In the online poker rooms, the gamers and the administrators both have created a system that allows as much as possible of that naturalness to come through. Poker Etiquette There are rules to playing poker online, and I’m not talking about the rules of the game. Those are the same online or offline. I’m talking about the rules for talking to each other, using the chat system in the room, and generally being social. In all online poker rooms, “table talk” is forbidden. Bridge players will know what I mean; using a series of codes to let other players know what your holding. This will get your IP address banned from an online poker room. Also, in many poker rooms, if you stop answering the chat, or skip your turn in the hand, you’re done for the game; they’ll assume you’ve left the table. Now there’s a rule to like. The Excitement of the Game But there’s something that all poker games, whether online, or at a casino or martini bar, or in a living room, have in common, and that’s the thrill. Let’s face it, poker is popular because it’s an exciting game. Is it gambling? Yes, it is, and if you lose a big stakes game, you can really lose big. But it’s not just gambling. Poker combines elements of casino chance with elements of player skill. Yes, you can get a bad hand, or a lousy hole card, but in the long run, if you know the game, you do well anyway. That’s what really brings people back. Getting Started So now, you’re decided. You’re gonna start a game. But what do you need? You’ve got a deck of cards, and a few boxes of matches, but is that enough? Of course, it’s not enough. There are some essential supplies to give any game the right ambience. You’ll want a table, to start with. You don’t have to buy a free standing poker table; you can find smaller folding tables, or even folding tops to place on your existing table. Poker tables are more than just a conceit; they have markings on them showing where to hold your cards and chips, who is the dealer, and were to put the pot. You can get by without a poker table, but if you’re new to the game, it’ll sure make things easier on you. You’ll also want a good set of poker chips. Poker chips come in a lot of varieties, colors, weights, styles… what to get is up to you. Casino regulations stipulate painted clay chips, at least 1
1.5 grams each, with the denomination printed on them. Casino poker chips like this aren’t hard to find, and are usually reasonably priced. Your best bet is to buy a set of at least 250. Most poker games have 5 players, and you’ll want enough chips to go around. Poker chips are also sold in batches of 500, 650, or even 1000. Again, how many you need is up to you. If you’re like me, shuffling cards is a challenge. There are automatic card shufflers available to do this for you, and they’re fun to watch, too. Many casinos permit electronic shuffling at the table, so don’t think that you’ll be losing that Vegas spirit if you use one. This should get you started. Once you’re on the poker party bandwagon, you’ll figure out what else you need!
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